ATP Tour’s Best Tennis Celebrations of 2011

What a year for tennis! As the men are in the middle of a so-called “off-season” training and rejuvenating their bodies and minds, we’ll take a look at the year’s best title-winning celebrations, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Murray, Janko Tipsarevic, Gilles Simon, Milos Raonic and others! Man, can these fellas celebrate in style!

Novak Djokovic – Australian Open

There’s no better place to begin than with Novak Djokovic’s stellar start to the season at the Australian Open in January. Little did the world know what was to come:  10 titles, a career-defining record of wins and the ascension to World Number 1. There were no doubts the man knew how to party, but this year we were reminded time and again. The young Serb was so excited in Melbourne that he was even knocking down ceilings!

Gilles Simon – Apia International Sydney

That same month, Frenchman Gilles Simon let it roar after winning the Apia International Sydney against Viktor Troicki. The usually soft-spoken X-Men-Wolverine-crossed-with-that-teen-vampire-Edward-Cullen-dude wasn’t afraid to flaunt his joy in front of his staring opponent (enlarge the left photo, don’t take my word for it!). Unfortunately, Simon’s results wavered for the rest of the year, but we did see him re-enter into the top 15 after having fallen all the way to #41.

 

Milos Raonic – SAP Open

Young Canadian Milos Raonic burst onto the scene in early 2011, plowing his way through the qualifiers of the Australian Open before losing in the fourth round, taking his first title in San Jose at the SAP Open, and then pushing Andy Roddick in the finals of Memphis. Learn this face and learn it well, as we’ll probably be seeing a lot more of him in years to come. That is, if he can stay injury-free. Back troubles kept him off the tour for a while, even forcing him to skip the U.S. Open. Here’s hoping the 6’5″ stud celebrates like this more often!

Andy Roddick – Regions Morgan Keegan Championships

If you want pointers on how to properly dive on a tennis court, look no further than the match point-winning dive Andy Roddick displayed at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis. Against the younger and faster Raonic, Roddick went for broke in nearly every rally. As one of the more subdued celebrations in this collection, he appears shocked, before realizing the nearly impossible get had just won him the championship.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZb0ZWpSF-k&w=320&h=205

Ryan Sweeting – US Men’s Clay Court Championship

Two months later we saw another American champion, just this time it was first-time winner Ryan Sweeting who defeated Kei Nishikori in the final of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston, Texas. As is tradition, Sweeting took the champions’ plunge into the pool at the River Oaks Country Club, afterward celebrating with young fans. What more could you want in an easily lovable winner?

 

Rafael Nadal – Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

The month of April also saw one of tennis’ biggest champions win his first singles’ title of the year. Rafael Nadal commandingly defeated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer at the Monte Carlo Masters before doing a repeat the following week in Barcelona. With his genuine “jumping for joy” below, it sincerely seems as if Nadal didn’t think he’d see this day again. Not only had he not won a title in six months, but Monte Carlo also held a special place in his heart. At the end of 2009 and start of 2010, he had a year-long title drought that again abruptely ended with him taking home the Monte Carlo crown. This Nadal celebration is like so many of his previous ones: you can almost photoshop any background or court surface or crowd behind him and his joy would still be as palpable. Every one of his previous 44 titles meant just as much to him as any future one. Like a young boy reaching for candy at the highest shelf, Nadal exudes excitement, heels barely on the ground and smile captivating the stadium, in everyone of his titles.

 

Rafael Nadal – Barcelona Open

Not far from his winning ways, the title in Barcelona was just as sweet in celebration, but with an added touch. If only to somehow involve Marat Safin in the mix, the absurd size of this trophy deserves a mention on its own merit. Nadal learned from Safin’s trophy-destroying ways back in 2000 and handily hoisted the trophy above his head — all without breaking it! Looks like an extra tier of names has even been added since Safin’s time!

Nikolay Davydenko – BMW Open

Although not his best year, Nikolay Davydenko has compiled an impressive career. Nine consecutive years with at least one title is quite a feat, and his sole title this year at the BMW Open included an extra-large accessory, a white BMW to be precise. Let’s see how many ways there are to dress up a BMW with Davydenko: on the hood, in the driver’s seat – perhaps driving down the road on your left? Oh, we can only dream! Winning looks good on you, Kolya.

 

Juan Martin Del Potro – Estoril Open

There is perhaps no better “feel good” story than Juan Martin Del Potro’s comeback this year. Not only did he take the ATP award by the same title earlier this month, but he walked away with a healthy wrist and a return to #11 in the rankings after falling down to #485 back in January. Below is his double fist-pumping hungry defeat of Fernando Verdasco in Estoril, only his second title since winning his maiden slam at the 2009 U.S. Open. Good to have you back, big guy!

 

Novak Djokovic – Mutua Madrid Open

Winning his sixth title of the year in Madrid gave Djokovic the chance to take a fun photo with the ball kids for an awesome celebration. Nothing beats a player comfortable in his own shoes, surrounded by fans who breathe his every victory with him. The happiness on those kids faces doesn’t lie!

Rafael Nadal – Roland Garros

Nadal broke through again in May by winning Roland Garros and had the honor of celebrating with one of the best characters of all time, Mickey Mouse. And in Disneyland Paris, no less! There’s much to be said of his perseverance (and struggle) this year as he was demolished by Djokovic on 6-of-6 finals: four Masters tournaments and 2 grand slams. If it hadn’t been for Djokovic, we could have been witnessing a repeat of Nadal’s spectacular 2010 season. But instead of nine titles this year, he went home with only three.

 

Andy Murray – AEGON Championships

The Scot (or is that Brit, when he’s losing?) stepped it up this year and the UK media shouldn’t be complaining. Although he pulled the plug on London early to prepare himself for the Australian Open, Andy Murray had a solid 2011 capturing three more titles than last year’s two. Here, he basks in the glory of his first title of the year in London/Queen’s Club after coming back from a set down to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It had been nearly eight months since his previous title, and it seems he has forgotten they put the winner’s name on the trophy. Pure joy from an often self-deprecating Murray can make any year-end celebration list.

 

Novak Djokovic – Wimbledon

There is just no way of avoiding this guy. His celebrations have been called over the top and unnecessary, but can you blame him for savoring the moment (and the grass) at Wimbledon? Djokovic’s defining win there over Nadal made the naysayers quiet down and step back and just say “too good.”

 

Radek Stepanek – Legg Mason Tennis Classic

32-year-old veteran Radek Stepanek took the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C. by storm, routing “Lucky Loser” Wayne Odesnik 6-1, 6-1 in the second round, downing Verdasco in the quarterfinals and finally owning Gael Monfils in the finals. To top it all off, he performed his famed victory dance move, “The Worm,” and sealed the deal by cheerily stealing the park ranger’s hat for a fun opportunity during the trophy ceremony.

 

Novak Djokovic – Rogers Cup

The Summer of the Serbian continued when Djokovic defeated Mardy Fish to take the Rogers Cup. Just call him “Superman Nole” with his contagious positive energy – even the chair umpire can’t contain himself!

 

Vasek Pospisil – Davis Cup World Group Play-offs

Canadians know how to do that deep carnal scream/roar with whatever you call this celebratory stance (wish there was video!). In September, Vasek Pospisil single-handedly won Canada’s Davis Cup World Group play-off vs Israel notching two singles and one doubles win. He started the year ranked 339 but is at a healthy 119 currently. Along with Raonic, he’s a force to be reckoned with and that’s definitely a reason to celebrate.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Moselle Open

Along with his thumb-wagging dance or stylish tuxedo ensemble, Tsonga always looks poised for a bumping party. And his first title of the year in Metz was no exception. Hard to believe that a player which only notched two 250-level titles this year nearly took the top spot at the podium at the ATP World Tour Finals. That’s either a testament to the depth of the current men’s game or a reflection of the struggle Tsonga fan’s face at every tournament: which Tsonga will show up this time? “Consistently-doomed Tsonga” or “consistently-crazy-awesome Tsonga”? His celebrations are indeed few and far in between.

Janko Tipsarevic – Malaysian Open

Janko Tipsarevic may never outgrow his boyish ways, but he took a step in the right direction as he not only won his first title at the Malaysia Open, but followed it up with a second title in Moscow less than one month later. In the past, Tipsarevic had been known as the only top player to never have won a title. But after using his Serbian comrades as inspiration, he’s even gone as far as inking his name into the year-end championships – a feat not many men in this sport can claim. And yes, Janko, that trophy has your name on it … (He and Murray are like two peas in a pod!)

 

Roger Federer – Swiss Indoors Basel

Ah, Roger Federer. Could a list as this really not mention his name? As one of the more calm and stoic players, when he gets fired up, you know he means business. After a “dismal” year with no grand slam titles to his name, he still took home four trophies, among them Basel. For a record-breaking fifth time, the Swiss Maestro planned to his hometown fans defeating Kei Nishikori before celebrating with the ball kids and LOTS of pizza. Much like his young self, maybe one of these youngsters will grow up to be the next tennis superstar.

Roger Federer – Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

Federer had a stellar end to the season as the following month he picked up the ATP World Tour Finals trophy for a record sixth time. With that came a check of $1.63 million as he went undefeated the entire week, and a bump up in the rankings back to #3, displacing Andy Murray. You can always count on Federer being relatively “fresh” for the year-end championships somehow. Players: take note and emulate.

 

Spain – Davis Cup Finals

Last, but definitely not least, is the “Dancing Happy Spaniards” of the Davis Cup. Their sound defeat of Argentina brought us not only these great photos of the team celebrating, but the Spaniards must have foresight as they did a pre-win celebration in the lockerroom prior to their finals match!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvHE6E-tL3A

And there you have it! Any good ones I’ve missed, share in the comments!